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Home National Massive voter bribery, intimidation cited in NRM primary elections

Massive voter bribery, intimidation cited in NRM primary elections

KANUNGU- A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) KIGEZI EYE, that has been monitoring the National Resistance Movement (NRM) primary elections in Kanungu District has revealed that the exercise was filled with wide spread voter bribery, intimidation, and poor preparation.

The revealation was contained in a report released by KIGEZI EYE on September 13th during a press conference at Kanungu Inn in Kanungu Town Council.

According to the Organisation’s Officer in Charge of Research and Projects, Muhumuza Alex, there was a lot of electoral malpractices that could not allow a free and fair exercise and that’s why there are several petitions arising from the elections.

Muhumuza said that due to widespread voter bribery, the voters arrived late at the polling stations because they had to demand for money or transport before turning up to vote while others never turned up at all.

“We have discovered that money ranging from Ugx 1000 to Ugx 5000 was dished out to voters prior to voting and this was evident at most polling stations where the exercise started late,” Muhumuza explained.

He said that ‘money’ was exchanged according to social status where the poor were given small amounts while those of higher status were awarded a sightly larger amount of money.

He also said that his Organisation has established the counting of people lining behind a preferred candidate was not properly done, change of results was noticed in some areas which compromised the final tally results.

KIGEZI EYE also noted that security was not visible at most polling stations and this put the lives of the polling officials at high risk of being aggrieved by either party, however minimal security was seen at some polling stations. 

Muhumuza said that some of the candidates’ agents were never facilitated and this killed their morale to defend the votes.

He also noted that some politicians are reluctant to leave power arguing that their success as politicians is measured by the longevity in the seat.

The Organisation however said that lack of Civic education has cost the voters a chance to elect the right representatives and they suggested that if Electoral Commission which mandated to carry out continuous civic education cannot do it, then it should recruit as much civil society as possible to carry out voter education exercise ahead of an election.

They also suggested that the government should reintroduce Muchakamchaka at Sub County level to help in educating the people about voting patterns.

The Organisation Publicity Secretary Kyokwijuka Desmond Misiri condemned the return of voting by lining behind a candidate which he said has created hatred among families and friends.

Kyokwijuka also said that the last hour announcement by the NRM party leaders on who should vote created confusion since the candidates could not determine the exact number of people eligible to vote.

“This confusion did specify the time for voting and some people ended up voting before others arrived while some voters cast their votes twice” Kyokwijuka said. 

The KIGEZI EYE Secretary for Political Mobilisation, Alexander Kamugisha revealed that, they managed to organise Radio debates for Parliamentary Candidates and LC 5 Chairpersons which gave them an opportunity to reach out to the voters and present their manifestoes.

Kamugisha said that although they did not make a follow up on the outcome of the radio debates, it was emphatically clear that the candidates were all informed and managed to get a platform where to reach out to the voters.

Kamugisha said that the experience in radio debates has given them an opportunity to organise better ones in future.

KIGEZI EYE is the only organisation in Kanungu District which is involved in voter education and monitoring and according to the Publicity Secretary Kyokwijuka Desmond, they will spread their services to the entire Greater Kigezi Region in the near future.

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Patson Baraire Mushaija
Patson Baraire Mushaijahttps://theinformerug.com/
Patson Baraire Mushaija is a Seasoned Journalist. He has an experience of Field and Community reporting for over 20 years. He started his career at Daily Monitor in the 1990s and is known for breaking major stories that remain topical issues today like the Bwindi Massacre and Kibwetere Inferno. He also worked at New Vision before concentrating on Digital Media. He has worked as reporter and news editor for a number of Media Organisations. Baraire is a family man, practicing farmer, and public speaker, is passionate about community Journalism. He is currently a Co-Editor at the Informer Ug an Online Publication in Western Uganda. Patson is widely traveled in East and Central Africa where he has attended several media training and Election Monitoring. He is passionate about Environmental Issues and Health Reporting.

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